Morale: Four Day Pass In The Persian Gulf


December 24, 2007: While over half a million troops in Iraq have taken advantage of the two week leave (one during their tour) policy, another 150,000 have also gotten four day pass to a U.S. base in Qatar. These passes are usually given to combat troops, who do the most intense work in Iraq, and need the break the most. Qatar is one of the many small principalities along the west coast of the Persian Gulf. Qatar is one of the more welcoming places, especially for Westerners. You still have to dress conservatively, but for the troops on pass, just being out of uniform, and not under fire (or threat thereof), is a major benefit. Being able to go swimming, visit Quatari shopping malls and other purely civilian (and friendly) locations is a big deal. Finally, the Department of Defense eases up on its "no drinking in a combat zone" rule by allowing troops on pass to have three beers a night at an on-base club. It's little things like this that keep the combat stress manageable for many troops. This whole pass idea is nothing new, as it was basically developed during World War I, when insightful officers noted that the stress of trench warfare was causing many troops to become ineffective. But a few days of leave in a village beyond the sound of gunfire, did a lot to decrease the combat fatigue losses. Such pass policies have been continued by most nations ever since.


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